Deep Sky collections and catalogs similar to Messier's
This list is also available in a slightly more
systematically organized format
Besides the more comprehensive professional catalogs which came into use
after Messier's list, several similar
lists have been compiled, first because Messier had not captured all
showpieces even in the Northern skies (he simply cataloged what came into
his field of view, more or less by chance, and what he could measure),
and he never went to the Southern hemisphere (not even to latitudes south
of Paris, which is at about 49 degrees Northern latitude).
This lack of completeness, connected with a certain arbitrariness, gave rise
to several people to fill in with similar object collections, although these
are not of the same importance in
Some of these catalogs are available online and listed below:
- Several smaller catalogs of historical importance are given in our
History of Deep Sky Discovery page;
this includes Halley's 6-object catalog.
We also hold some of the other
some of them may still be interesting for amateur workthrough.
"Catalogue of Nebulae of the Southern Sky"
may be of special interest due to its historical relevance
(also available as ascii file).
We also have a copy of the
original Lacaille catalog
(as reprinted in an appendix of Messier's Catalog) online.
- Historical Deep Sky Objects:
List of all 152 Deep Sky Object discovered before William Herschel began
his extensive survey in September, 1782, in various formats
- James Dunlop's Catalog of southern Deep Sky Objects,
- The Jack Bennett Catalog
of Southern Deep-Sky Objects (also available
as plain ascii file), which was contributed by
Auke Slotegraaf; thanks !
- The Saguaro Astronomy Club (SAC) has compiled a
list of the 110 best NGC objects
not in Messier's catalog. Also note the
original list by A.J. Crayon and Steve Coe; it is also
available as inexpensive booklet
This list was contributed by
editor of the
- The Messier Plus Marathon List
(also available as ascii file):
Wally Brown and Bob Buckner have compiled a list of 110
Deep Sky objects (75 Messiers, 34 NGCs, 1 Brocchi) suitable for a
1-night marathon session around September each year, the Messier Plus
Marathon. Messier Plus marathons have been held first by the Saguaro
Astronomy Club of Phoenix, Arizona, in
1981 and 1982, the list was
contributed by AJ Crayon.
- John Caldwell's
"Best Sky Objects from SAAO Latitude.
List of deep sky objects and double/multiple stars for Southern observers.
Contributed by Willie Koorts. [ascii file]
- Glen Cozens from New South Wales, Australia, has compiled a list of
110 DEEP-SKY HIGH LIGHTS
(also available as ascii file).
- Patrick Moore's Caldwell Catalog: Choose between our
Linked Object List or the (unlinked) Original
at Sky Online
- The German yearbook, Ahnert's Kalender für Sternfreunde, has
compilations of very easy deepsky objects (suitable for 2-inch telescopes),
especially useful for school and public demonstrations. These lists of a total
of 42 Northern deepsky showpieces is now
- Ben Crowell has created
a compilation of 31 Deep Sky Objects suited for binocular observing.
We have a list of the Binosky objects.
The American Association of Amateur Astronomers has created a
List of Deep Sky Objects (and double and variable stars) for Northern
hemisphere observers living in urban regions:
The AAAA Urban Astronomy Club List of Objects.
This list is presented here crosslinked to the object pages in our
Messier Catalog Online Database; also note their (unlinked)
- The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) has created
TAAS 200, a list of
"the best 200 non Messier objects easily visible from central New Mexico"
(objects north of declination -48). This list was intended for intermediately
experienced and equipped observes.
- The East Valley Astronomy Club of Scottsdale, Arizona offers the
program for observing 200 non_messier deepsky objects thought as follow-up
for Messier object observers. These objects are all north of Dec -52.
- The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) has published
several useful observing lists in their yearly Observer's Handbook,
edited by Roy L. Bishop:
- The Astronomical League has provided
extra observing tours beyond the Messier objects for binocular observers,
each one for Northern and Southern Deep Sky Objects (and observers);
we have linked copies of the object lists to our pages here:
- The Hawaii Astronomical Society
has compiled a
Beyond Messier and Caldwell list of more challenging Deep Sky objects
- The astronomical computer program Ephem, an ephemeris calculator, provides
a database containing various Solar System objects, stars, all Messier
and 27 other Deep Sky Objects. Here is the list of (the 27 other)
Deep Sky Objects from the Ephem program.
[You can download
Ephem 4.28 for OS/2 here]
- The Observatorio ARVAL (Venezuela)
has made their
ARVAL Catalog of Bright Objects available online; it consists of
the following parts:
- Erich Karkoschka, in his
Atlas für Himmelsbeobachter, lists
250 Deep Sky Objects well observable by amateurs.
- The more advanced amateur may try more and other objects, e.g.
Herschel's catalog, which is available online
thanks to Bill Arnett.
- Boyd Edwards has compiled a
big observing list of 884 deep sky objects,
which he has collected from the Messier catalog, the Caldwell catalog, the
Herschel 400 list of the AL, Burnham (all objects with long description),
A. Dyer's 110 "Finest" NGC objects (Observers Handbook 1996), and
objects discussed in Sky & Telescope. For more detail, read
Boyd's Explanatory Notes.
- Tom Hoffelder, one of the inventors of the
Messier Marathon, has compiled
an observing list of 1000 Deep Sky objects which he has named "The
Magnificient 1000". We have here a description
and the list. Tom has hunted down all but NGC
2253 and 1663 with an 8-inch SC.
- The Webb Society, in their
famous Deep-Sky Observer's Handbook
Vol. 2, 3, and 4, has provided a numbered catalog of 700 deep-sky objects
(nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies). This catalog excludes the
bright Virgo Cluster galaxies, which
are treated in their Vol. 5 (Clusters of Galaxies).
- Ronald J. Morales has published
The Amateur Astronomer's Catalog of 500 Deep-Sky Objects
- Roger N. Clark's book,
Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky, contains an atlas of 90 and a
catalog of 611 deep sky objects visible for better equipped amateurs.
- Some historic observing lists, mostly from the 19th century, which may
still be suited as observing lists, include
- Finally, some hardcore-observers may like to track down the whole
NGC and IC catalog by
- Bill Arnett has provided a
NGC Webpage linking
the more important NGC and IC web resources, including a dictionary
for Dreyer's description code.
- The present author
has provided an
interactive online NGC (and IC) catalog,
based on Sky Publishing's famous NGC 2000.0 database.
- The NGC/IC Project maintains an
online database of various versions of the NGC and IC catalogs,
corrections to the catalogs, and observations of the NGC and IC
deepsky objects. You may contribute your observations to their
database, and generate your own observing list interactively from
Objects, especially those which are fainter and less suited for amateur
observations, are often designated by catalog numbers from professional catalogs;
look at a list of some common deep sky catalogs.
If you know of further collections of Deep Sky objects suited for amateur
observing (or "work-thru") please email me.
Last Modification: 8 Feb 1998, 20:00 MET